All About Estates

Dr. Richard Shulman

Total 31 Posts Website
Dr. Shulman is a Geriatric Psychiatrist, and is the Service Medical Director for Seniors Mental Health Services at Trillium Health Partners (Mississauga Hospital, Credit Valley Hospital and Queensway Health Centre). He is available for independent medical-legal capacity assessments. He is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto. Email: Richard.Shulman@thp.ca

Some Thoughts on Explaining Differences in Expert Opinions

Experts giving evidence in an Ontario court are obliged to sign an acknowledgement that they are independent, with their obligation being to the court and not to the party who retained them. Nonetheless, scepticism regarding objectiveness and discrepancies between expert opinions remains, as demonstrated in the reasons of Justice Mesbur…

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Some Suggestions on Evaluating Undue Influence in the Court of Public Opinion

In recent weeks, Canadian politics has been rocked by the so-called “SNC-Lavalin Scandal.” One of the allegations has been whether former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould was pressured or unduly influenced by the Prime Minister’s Office to resolve the corruption and fraud case against SNC-Lavalin in an effort to spare the…

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Lucid Intervals and Testamentary Capacity

As I understand, “lucid interval” is a legal doctrine that holds that testamentary capacity may exist at a moment in time even though the testator’s general state would be inconsistent with the conclusion that he possessed testamentary capacity.[i] The idea is that an individual who suffers from mental illness or…

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Year End Wishes for Changes to Care for Patients with Dementia

Health Quality Ontario, in collaboration with clinical experts, patients, residents, and caregivers across the province, is developing quality standards for care providers in Ontario. I participated in developing the quality standard: Behavioural Symptoms of Dementia: Care for Patients in Hospitals and Residents in Long-Term Care Homes. This quality standard focuses…

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Some Concerns about Proposing MAiD via Advanced Directives

Audrey Parker, a terminally ill woman living in Nova Scotia, ended her life with medical assistance earlier this month after issuing a final deathbed plea asking lawmakers to loosen some of the restrictions embedded in Canada’s assisted dying law.[i] Parker stressed that the law had to be changed because anyone…

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Statutory Guardianship of Property vs. a Continuing Power of Attorney for Property: They are not the same!

My June 2017 blog described that most seniors appoint a continuing power of attorney for property (CPOAP), partly to avoid having the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (OPG&T) assume the role of statutory guardian of property under the Substitute Decisions Act (SDA) or the Mental Health Act (MHA)…

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Is it Improper for Counsel to Assist an Expert Witness in the Preparation of the Expert’s Report?

Expert evidence constitutes an exception to the rule that witnesses may only testify as to facts, not opinions, and that it is the exclusive prerogative of the trier of fact to draw inferences from proven facts. The expert evidence exception operates where specialized knowledge is required to determine the implications…

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Undue Influence by “Unwitting Proxy”

Undue influence results in benefits to a beneficiary/donee which would not have occurred except for the undue influence imposed by the beneficiary/donee upon the testator/donor. Undue influence can be conceptualized into two distinct types: (1) “actual” undue influence and (2) “presumed” undue influence. Actual undue influence is concerned with coercive…

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When More Help is Needed: Moving Seniors with Dementia to Care Facilities

Section 4(1) of the Health Care Consent Act (HCCA) sets out a two-part test for determining whether a person has the capacity to consent to medical treatment, to be admitted to a care facility, or to receive a personal assistive service/device: Is the person able to understand information relevant to…

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Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) and Undue Influence

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the ban on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) was unconstitutional (for a summary of the decision, click here). However, MAiD is not available to all persons; to qualify, a person requesting MAiD must have a grievous and irremediable medical condition including…

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